Bug Blog

Amazing Ant Architecture

Amazing Ant Architecture

Scientists have marveled at the intricate nests ants build for decades, especially as thousands of ants are somehow able to coordinate themselves to build these elaborate nests with no guiding central authority. So, a bunch of scientists decided to put together a multi-institutional research team in France to discover the answer to how ants are able to accomplish these amazing feats. They found that chemicals play a large role in the ants’ architectural process.

These ants’ build complex networks of underground galleries and above-ground mounds that contain interconnected chambers that are created through the formation of pillars around them. That’s some pretty complex work for such a tiny creature. Apparently, in order to achieve this, the ants add a pheromone to the building material that leaves a chemical signal for other ants, instructing them to on top of a particular spot, creating the individual pillars. They deduce what size to make the pillars by looking to their own body dimensions. When a pillar reaches the length of an ant’s body they know to finish that pillar and move on to building a new one somewhere else. The ants essentially leave behind building instructions for the next worker to build upon at each site they work on.

Have you ever studied an ant mound? What do you think of their complex architecture?